Back to Haditha

It is time to revisit the Guardian’s claim that Haditha is a jihadi “citadel” along the lines of Fallujah of old. Soldier’s Dad points us the recent issue of This Week in Iraq, a newsletter published by Multinational Forces Iraq, which helps refute two of the claims in the article: Haditha is not being patrolled, and the insurgents control the output from the Haditha Dam

The Guardian’s Claim #1, Haditha is not being patrolled:

There is no fighting here because there is no one to challenge the Islamists. The police station and municipal offices were destroyed last year and US marines make only fleeting visits every few months.

There are two articles on page 16 of This Week in Iraq which show Haditha is being patrolled regularly. “Corpsman pounds village streets providing care” discusses how a Navy corpsman accompanies patrols in Haditha and gives medical care to the children and adults of the town. “US Marines, Iraqi Army making a difference” discusses patrols in Haditha. The joint Iraqi and American patrols visited local businesses, the local market and a medical clinic, where it offered to provide needed medical supplies.

The Guardian’s Claim #2:

Last year the US trumpeted its rehabilitation of a nearby power plant: “The incredible progress at Haditha is just one example of the huge strides made by the US army corps of engineers.” Now insurgents earn praise from residents for allegedly pressuring managers to supply electricity almost 24 hours a day, a luxury denied the rest of Iraq.

On page 1 of This Week in Iraq, there is an article titled “A look to the future: Iraqi Security Forces arrives dam” , which discusses the marriage of US and Iraqi patrols around the Haditha Dam area. US forces have been present at Haditha Dam since April of 2003, and have maintained a garrison since October of that year. While it is entirely possible the operators of the Haditha Dam are diverting energy to Haditha via intimidation, the author offers no evidence other than innuendo. Iraqi officials are no doubt monitoring the output of the dam, as energy supplies in Iraq are tight, and Coalition forces are in place to correct any problems if detected.

As stated in The Islamic Republic of Haditha?, there is much room for skepticism of the claims made by the Guardian. The Guardian‘s portrayal of Haditha as the next Fallujah certainly fits the meme of quagmire, but the facts show this is less than accurate.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.

13 Comments

  • Justin Capone says:

    Bill,
    What do you think about this article about the Anbar campaign?

  • Bill Roggio says:

    I think the Vietnam analogy is both predictable and overblown. And I am skeptical of how the media selectively quotes/quotes out of context military officers. I’ve seen this far too many times, and don’t get my panties in a bunch over it.
    But it really doesn’t say anything I haven’t said for the past few months. Until we get more troops in Anbar the situation is less than ideal. Make no mistake – when we do get enough US and Iraqi troops in Anbar, it will get more bloody. Its what happens when you engage the enemy in combat. But it doesn’t equate with failure.

  • geo-strategist says:

    I have just arrived at the 4th rail, and I am impressed with the dialog and intensely concise opinions. I am a military scholar, whose ID cannot be mentioned due to legal matters.
    I will now comm via military case>>>>
    THE WAR IN IRAQ, AND IT’S CONTINUING BLOODSHED ARE DUE TO ONLY ONE IMPORTANT FACT, WHICH IS IGNORED BY MOST IN THE SENIOR COMMAND STRUCTURE DUE IN PART TO THE MISCALCULATIONS THAT THESE MEN MADE BETWEEN 06/01 AND 02/03 IN THE PLANNING OF THE OPLAN THAT LEAD TO THE INVASION, AND ITS POLICIES.
    THE “INSURGENCY” IN IRAQ WAS PLANNED IN GREAT DETAIL AND WITH GREAT ELAN BY THE SENIOR IRAQI MILITARY INFRASTRUCTURE AS EARLY AS 1993. AS AN INFORMED (MORE DETAILS LATER) PARTICIPANT IN THE IRAQ QUESTION, I WATCHED AS THE IRAQI MILITARY (ESPECIALLY REPUBLICAN GUARD BATTALIONS AND FEDAYEEN SADDAM UNITS)ADOPTED A STRATEGY OF REAR GUARD AND HARASSMENT DOCTRINE, AND IMPLEMENTED THESE TACTICS VIA AN ENORMOUS AND ELABORATE TRAINING PROGRAM. DISPERSAL POINTS, WEAPONS STORES, AND COMM INITIATIVES WERE WAR-GAMED AND REHEARSED, ALL THE WHILE BEING EVOLVED AND UPGRADED WITH THE GROWING RESOURCES AND EXPERTISE OF JIHADIST ELEMNTS.
    THE POINT IS; THAT SADDAM REALIZED THAT HIS DAYS WERE NUMBERED, AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH HIS IDEOLOGICAL BELIEFS, AND WITH A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF HOW HISTORY JUDGES MEN, HE METICULOUSLY PLANNED AND EXECUTED THE PLAN THAT WAS DEVELOPED IN CONCERT WITH THE THEORIES AND DOCTRINE PROVIDED BY THE LESSONS OF SUN-TZU, GIAP, CHE GUEVERA, AND VON CLAUSEWITZ.
    THE ONLY OPTION OPEN TO THE EXTREMIST MUSLIM ALLIANCE WAS TO DRAW AMERICA INTO A COSTLY CAMPAIGN OF “AGGRESSION”, IN ORDER TO BLEED HER TO DEATH SLOWLY (AS PER THE PHILOSOPHIES MENTIONED)
    THE ONLY COURSE OF ACTION OPEN TO THE US MILITARY IS THAT OF COMPLETE AND TOTAL CONTROL OF INITIATIVE. THE SECOND THAT A MARINE REGIMENT HERE, OR ARMY DIVISION THERE BECOMES WEAKENED BY RULES OF ENGAGEMENT OR POLITICAL CONSIDERATION, THE STILL ORGANIZED (AND YES VERY COMPETENT) IRAQI ARMY WILL FILL THE EUPRATES WITH BLOOD, AND DESTROY ITS FAR WEAKER SHIA ENEMY.
    REMEBER THIS: MOST HIGH ECHELON IRAQI COMMANDERS (ALL SUNNIS) WERE TRAINED IN THE OPERATIONAL ARTS AT SANDHURST AND OTHER BRITISH, AMERICAN, AND SOVIET PROGRAMS THROUGHOUT THE 1970s AND 80s. I WAS THERE.

  • Janice says:

    Read MOAB — Mother of All Blogs. A female blogger/journalist has been staying at the dam with Marines from the 3/25. I dare say terrorists aren’t in control.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    It would appear that the local residents in Husaybah(sp) have figured out how to call in an Air Strike against an AlQeuda safe house. I guess the tribes of Al Anbar are serious about Al Queda no longer being welcome.
    //apnews.myway.com/article/20050826/D8C7MEN00.html

  • Bob says:

    That’s a great article Soldier’s Dad. I’ve wondered how much cooperation we were getting from the Iraqis that never gets reported. I’d be willing to bet this isn’t the first time something like that’s happened. I know not all of them love us, but we’re not the ones blowing up police stations, hospitals and funerals, and eventually, I think the majority will work to help us defeat the terrorists.

  • AMac says:

    geo-strategist #4:

    As you will be aware, your claims are un-evaluable by anybody except, presumably, a small number of insiders.

    In Imperial Hubris, Michael Scheuer made an important claim: that an informed person could get a better sense of the current situation by properly reading open-source material, than by relying on eyes-only classified analyses.

    There ought to be plenty of evidence that, read carefully, supports your contentions and indicates that other theories are incorrect. To convince this readership, why not provide links to these key pieces? (If you arent trying to convince us … then why comment?)

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    Bob,
    “How much co-operation from locals” –
    Maj Gen Taluto, commander of 42nd ID, North Central Iraq reported on the pentagon channel today that the JCC’s in his AOR got 4,800 tips in the last 2 weeks.

  • Mike Rentner says:

    As I type this, I am inside Hadithah Dam.
    North central Iraq is an entirely different war than the one in Al Anbar. I have no idea what they’re up to there, but you can’t compare their hotline tips to ours in the Hit-Hadithah corridor.
    It’s strange to me that people project whatever they want to see in these news reports. That which is available to Bill Roggio is not all that is known. He has a lot of good stuff, but y’all should remember that he isn’t here and he can’t possibly (nor do I think he claims to) know the full story.
    This is a war. The enemy is here. They are very active. We have not finished the war.
    Claim #1 above is largely true. It is factual and not disputed by anyone here. Our battalion commander has discussed this with reporters many times.
    Claim #2 is incorrect only in that the army corps of engineers have had little to do with the work on the dam, so far as I know it was done by the Iraqi government and the Iraqi engineers working here in the dam. Perhaps someone back in Baghdad has been providing money and advice, but I’ve never seen the corps of engineers here. Maybe they came some time in the past. If so, it was probably just a cursory site assessment.
    The assertion that the muj are claiming to have been the reason for reliable power is consistent with their modus operandi — and with the questionable loyalties of the dam workers, it’s not even necessarily incorrect. The dam workers generally live in South Dam Village and Hadithah, both of which have become increasingly under the control of the muj. Who’s to say that the muj didn’t encourage the power improvements?
    There’s a big difference between telling people to make a dam work and actually having the ability to make a dam work, but it’s easily understandable that the muj think that their pressure made things happen and even more easily understandable that the locals believe it.
    Don’t discount everything you read about just because it’s negative. We’re winning this war, but it’s not over yet and the enemy are still able to function in some places. It is not all roses over here. Yet.

  • Soldier's Dad says:

    I don’t think I was stating a direct correlation between AlAnbar and North Central.
    If one analyzes security incidents/100,000 population, one could surmise a rough view of active/passive support for the terrorists/insurgents.
    The following is based on post election security incidents
    //www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/images/oif-map-050700.gif
    AlAnbar comprises 4% of the Iraqi population, and accounts for 20% of the security incidents, or 5 times the national average.
    Salahadin comprises 4% of the Iraqi population and accounts for 12% of the security incidents, or 3 times the national average.
    Ninewa comprises 10% of the Iraqi population and accounts for 17% of the security incidents, or 1.7 times the national average.
    Baghdad comprises 25% of the Iraqi population and accounts for 34% of the security incidents, or 1.4 times the national average.
    Tamin and Diyala provinces both comprise roughly 4% of the Iraqi population, and both have 5% of the security incidents, or 1.25 times the national average.
    Babil comprises 5% of the population, and accounts for 3% of the security incidents, or less than the national average.
    IMHO, the North Central region, particularly Salahadin is a good indicator of overall progress.

  • thewiz says:

    I have heard press reports of the planning for the insurgency. They knew that they could not stand up to our military.
    IMO, the biggest failure in planning and the biggest reason for the success of the insurgency is the failure to get the Turk’s permission to bring the 3rd ID down from the north.
    This would have engaged the main force of the insurgents before the fall of Baghdad and destroyed many of them. It also would have cut off the escape routes to Syria.
    Plus that would have been 35,000 more troops in country in the immediate aftrmath to control looting and provide security.
    Coulda made a big difference.

  • Mike Rentner says:

    Thewiz, I’m not sure what success you’re seeing in the insurgency, but it’s not real.
    That they still exist doesn’t mean that they are succeeding. In some ways continued existence is all they need so long as they continue to function. But they are getting increasingly incapable of moving, operating and attacking. They are not succeeding, they are losing.

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